Browsing by Subject "agriculture"

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  • Pe'er, Guy; Bonn, Aletta; Bruelheide, Helge; Dieker, Petra; Eisenhauer, Nico; Feindt, Peter H.; Hagedorn, Gregor; Hansjürgens, Bernd; Herzon, Irina; Lomba, Ângela; Marquard, Elisabeth; Moreira, Francisco; Nitsch, Heike; Oppermann, Rainer; Perino, Andrea; Röder, Norbert; Schleyer, Christian; Schindler, Stefan; Wolf, Christine; Zinngrebe, Yves; Lakner, Sebastian (2020)
    Abstract Making agriculture sustainable is a global challenge. In the European Union (EU), the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is failing with respect to biodiversity, climate, soil, land degradation as well as socio-economic challenges. The European Commission's proposal for a CAP post-2020 provides a scope for enhanced sustainability. However, it also allows Member States to choose low-ambition implementation pathways. It therefore remains essential to address citizens' demands for sustainable agriculture and rectify systemic weaknesses in the CAP, using the full breadth of available scientific evidence and knowledge. Concerned about current attempts to dilute the environmental ambition of the future CAP, and the lack of concrete proposals for improving the CAP in the draft of the European Green Deal, we call on the European Parliament, Council and Commission to adopt 10 urgent action points for delivering sustainable food production, biodiversity conservation and climate mitigation. Knowledge is available to help moving towards evidence-based, sustainable European agriculture that can benefit people, nature and their joint futures. The statements made in this article have the broad support of the scientific community, as expressed by above 3,600 signatories to the preprint version of this manuscript. The list can be found here (https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.3685632). A free Plain Language Summary can be found within the Supporting Information of this article.
  • Susi, Hanna; Laine, Anna-Liisa (2021)
    Human alteration of natural habitats may change the processes governing species interactions in wild communities. Wild populations are increasingly impacted by agricultural intensification, yet it is unknown whether this alters biodiversity mediation of disease dynamics. We investigated the association between plant diversity (species richness, diversity) and infection risk (virus richness, prevalence) in populations of Plantago lanceolata in natural landscapes as well as those occurring at the edges of cultivated fields. Altogether, 27 P. lanceolata populations were surveyed for population characteristics and sampled for PCR detection of five recently characterized viruses. We find that plant species richness and diversity correlated negatively with virus infection prevalence. Virus species richness declined with increasing plant diversity and richness in natural populations while in agricultural edge populations species richness was moderately higher, and not associated with plant richness. This difference was not explained by changes in host richness between these two habitats, suggesting potential pathogen spill-over and increased transmission of viruses across the agro-ecological interface. Host population connectivity significantly decreased virus infection prevalence. We conclude that human use of landscapes may change the ecological laws by which natural communities are formed with far reaching implications for ecosystem functioning and disease.
  • Topp, Edward; Larsson, D. G. Joakim; Miller, Daniel N.; Van den Eede, Chris; Virta, Marko P. J. (2018)
    A roundtable discussion held at the fourth International Symposium on the Environmental Dimension of Antibiotic Resistance (EDAR4) considered key issues concerning the impact on the environment of antibiotic use in agriculture and aquaculture, and emissions from antibiotic manufacturing. The critical control points for reducing emissions of antibiotics from agriculture are antibiotic stewardship and the pre-treatment of manure and sludge to abate antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Antibiotics are sometimes added to fish and shellfish production sites via the feed, representing a direct route of contamination of the aquatic environment. Vaccination reduces the need for antibiotic use in high value (e.g. salmon) production systems. Consumer and regulatory pressure will over time contribute to reducing the emission of very high concentrations of antibiotics from manufacturing. Research priorities include the development of technologies, practices and incentives that will allow effective reduction in antibiotic use, together with evidence-based standards for antibiotic residues in effluents. All relevant stakeholders need to be aware of the threat of antimicrobial resistance and apply best practice in agriculture, aquaculture and pharmaceutical manufacturing in order to mitigate antibiotic resistance development. Research and policy development on antimicrobial resistance mitigation must be cognizant of the varied challenges facing high and low income countries.
  • Hovi, Tiina (Helsingfors universitet, 2013)
    Finnish agriculture has faced radical changes since the mid-20th century due to intensification of agricultural production. These changes have resulted into considerable wildlife habitat loss and degradation of biodiversity. Open ditches and their boundaries are one such habitat. They were widely replaces by subsurface drainage. This thesis aims to understand the role open ditches for agricultural biodiversity; what kinds of plants live the ditch habitat and can ditches enhance agrobiodiversity? To answer these questions we surveyed the vegetation of ditch slopes and ditch banks. Both vegetation composition and species richness were studied. The survey concerns only vegetation, but it is assumed that plant species diversity supports diversity of other groups of organisms. The data was collected in summers 2008 and 2009 in Lepsämä river catchment in Southern Finland in co-operation with MYTVAS (Significance of the Finnish agri-environment support scheme for biodiversity and landscape) -project. Ditch habitat characterization was done by studying the most common species and their indicative values in the data. Also NMS-ordination graph was created. Environmental variables were analyzed too. According to the literature review ditches can have significant role in maintaining agrobiodiversity, and their existence has probably reduced biodiversity loss. However, the vegetation analysis shows that the study area was species-poor and homogenous. Probable explanations are the habitat’s humidity and high levels of nutrients alongside the dominance of few strong weed species. In order to improve ditches as wildlife habitats their quality should be enhanced. For example fertilizer and herbicide drifts should be reduced and ditch banks could be widened. Also tending the ditch habitat by cutting or grazing are highly recommendable methods to enhance biodiversity.
  • Grönroos, Juha; Munther, Joonas; Luostarinen, Sari (Finnish Environment Institute, 2017)
    Reports of the Finnish Environment Institute 37/2017
    Agricultural gaseous nitrogen emissions are mostly related to manure management, grazing and fertilisation. These emissions include ammonia (NH3), nitrous oxide (N2O), nitric oxide (NO) and di-nitrogen (N2). Most of the non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOC) emissions originate from livestock farming, but also from cultivated crops. All these emissions are inventoried and reported for the UN Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution (CLRTAP), EU National Emission Ceilings Directive (2001/81/EC) and the UN Framework on Climate Change (UNFCC). In Finland, a specific national model for gaseous nitrogen emissions from agriculture has been used for the inventory since 1998. The revised calculation model documented here is tied to the Finnish Normative Manure System, which provides data on manure quality and quantity for various livestock categories. The emission calculation follows the flow of total ammoniacal nitrogen (TAN) and total nitrogen (N) through the manure management systems, starting from excretion and ending at manure spreading. The main manure management phases considered in the calculation are livestock housing, manure storing and manure field application. The calculation also embeds estimations on emissions from grazing and outdoor yards, as well as emissions from the use of mineral fertilisers. The nitrogen calculation model provides data for the calculation of agricultural NMVOC emissions. All calculations are constructed in compliance with the Tier 2 method of the EMEP/EEA emission inventory guidebook (2016).
  • Lehikoinen, Aleksi; Brotons, Lluis; Calladine, John; Campedelli, Tommaso; Escandell, Virginia; Flousek, Jiri; Grueneberg, Christoph; Haas, Fredrik; Harris, Sarah; Herrando, Sergi; Husby, Magne; Jiguet, Frederic; Kalas, John Atle; Lindstrom, Ake; Lorrilliere, Romain; Molina, Blas; Pladevall, Clara; Calvi, Gianpiero; Sattler, Thomas; Schmid, Hans; Sirkiä, Päivi M.; Teufelbauer, Norbert; Trautmann, Sven (2019)
    Mountain areas often hold special species communities, and they are high on the list of conservation concern. Global warming and changes in human land use, such as grazing pressure and afforestation, have been suggested to be major threats for biodiversity in the mountain areas, affecting species abundance and causing distribution shifts towards mountaintops. Population shifts towards poles and mountaintops have been documented in several areas, indicating that climate change is one of the key drivers of species' distribution changes. Despite the high conservation concern, relatively little is known about the population trends of species in mountain areas due to low accessibility and difficult working conditions. Thanks to the recent improvement of bird monitoring schemes around Europe, we can here report a first account of population trends of 44 bird species from four major European mountain regions: Fennoscandia, UK upland, south-western (Iberia) and south-central mountains (Alps), covering 12 countries. Overall, the mountain bird species declined significantly (-7%) during 2002-2014, which is similar to the declining rate in common birds in Europe during the same period. Mountain specialists showed a significant -10% decline in population numbers. The slope for mountain generalists was also negative, but not significantly so. The slopes of specialists and generalists did not differ from each other. Fennoscandian and Iberian populations were on average declining, while in United Kingdom and Alps, trends were nonsignificant. Temperature change or migratory behaviour was not significantly associated with regional population trends of species. Alpine habitats are highly vulnerable to climate change, and this is certainly one of the main drivers of mountain bird population trends. However, observed declines can also be partly linked with local land use practices. More efforts should be undertaken to identify the causes of decline and to increase conservation efforts for these populations.
  • Fronzek, Stefan; Carter, Timothy R.; Pirttioja, Nina; Alkemade, Rob; Audsley, Eric; Bugmann, Harald; Flörke, Martina; Holman, Ian; Honda, Yasushi; Ito, Akihiko; Janes-Bassett, Victoria; Lafond, Valentine; Leemans, Rik; Mokrech, Marc; Nunez, Sarahi; Sandars, Daniel; Snell, Rebecca; Takahashi, Kiyoshi; Tanaka, Akemi; Wimmer, Florian; Yoshikawa, Minoru (Springer, 2019)
    Regional Environmental Change
    Responses to future changes in climatic and socio-economic conditions can be expected to vary between sectors and regions, reflecting differential sensitivity to these highly uncertain factors. A sensitivity analysis was conducted using a suite of impact models (for health, agriculture, biodiversity, land use, floods and forestry) across Europe with respect to changes in key climate and socio-economic variables. Depending on the indicators, aggregated grid or indicative site results are reported for eight rectangular sub-regions that together span Europe from northern Finland to southern Spain and from western Ireland to the Baltic States and eastern Mediterranean, each plotted as scenario-neutral impact response surfaces (IRSs). These depict the modelled behaviour of an impact variable in response to changes in two key explanatory variables. To our knowledge, this is the first time the IRS approach has been applied to changes in socio-economic drivers and over such large regions. The British Isles region showed the smallest sensitivity to both temperature and precipitation, whereas Central Europe showed the strongest responses to temperature and Eastern Europe to precipitation. Across the regions, sensitivity to temperature was lowest for the two indicators of river discharge and highest for Norway spruce productivity. Sensitivity to precipitation was lowest for intensive agricultural land use, maize and potato yields and Scots pine productivity, and highest for Norway spruce productivity. Under future climate projections, North-eastern Europe showed increases in yields of all crops and productivity of all tree species, whereas Central and East Europe showed declines. River discharge indicators and forest productivity (except Holm oak) were projected to decline over southern European regions. Responses were more sensitive to socio-economic than to climate drivers for some impact indicators, as demonstrated for heat-related mortality, coastal flooding and land use.
  • von Crautlein, Maria; Korpelainen, Helena; Helander, Marjo; Vare, Henry; Saikkonen, Kari (2014)
  • Mattila, Tuomas J.; Rajala, Jukka (Wiley, 2022)
    Soil Use and Management
    Traditionally, locally calibrated soil tests were used for fertilizer and lime recommendations. Farmers and advisors are increasingly using new ‘universal’ soil tests without local calibration. The objective of this study was to compare five commercially available soil tests and to determine whether they would provide similar recommendations. In total, 24 fields in Western Finland were sampled for 4 years while being treated with fertilizers, lime and manure. The soil samples were analysed with Mehlich-3, ammonium acetate, H3A, hydrochloric acid and mild acetic acid (Spurway) extractants. In addition, Soil Health Tool (CO2 burst, water-soluble C and N) and tissue testing were conducted. The different tests extracted different orders of magnitude of nutrients (especially P and Mg), but the results from the different extractions were correlated. Mehlich-3 degree of phosphorus saturation (DPS) presented a threshold, below which soluble phosphorus was not detected. Similar thresholds were found for P, S and Mg. Mehlich-3 and ammonium acetate provided similar results for Ca, Mg and K and can be used interchangeably for liming recommendations. Mehlich-3 identified more fields with Zn, Cu, B and S deficiencies and less fields with Mn deficiencies compared with ammonium acetate + EDTA and tissue testing. The tests had strong correlation, but the determination of nutrient deficiencies needs local calibration of deficiency limits.
  • Turunen, Jarno; Karppinen, Anssi; Ihme, Raimo (Springer, 2019)
    SN Applied Sciences 1, 210 (2019)
    Agricultural diffuse pollution is a major environmental problem causing eutrophication of water bodies. Despite the problem is widely acknowledged, there has been relatively few major advances in mitigating the problem. We studied the effectiveness of biopolymer-based (tannin, starch, chitosan) natural coagulants/flocculants in treatment of two different agricultural wastewaters that differed in their level of phosphorus pollution and turbidity. We used jar-tests to test the effectiveness of the biopolymer coagulants in reducing water turbidity, total phosphorus, and total organic carbon (TOC) from the wastewaters. In more polluted water (total phosphorus: 300 µg/L, turbidity: 130 FNU, TOC: 30 mg/L), all tested biopolymers performed well. The best reductions for different biopolymer coagulants were 64–95%, 80–98% and 14–27%, for total phosphorus, turbidity and TOC, respectively. Tannin and chitosan coagulants performed the best at doses of 5–10 mL/L, whereas starch coagulants had the best performance at 1–2 mL/L doses. Tannin and chitosan coagulants performed clearly better than the starch coagulants. In less polluted water (total phosphorus: 74 µg/L, turbidity: 3.9 FNU, TOC: 21 mg/L), chitosan and starch coagulants did not produce flocs at any of the tested doses. Tannin coagulant performed the best at doses of 5–8 mL/L, where reductions were 70%, 82%, and 22%, for total phosphorus, turbidity and TOC, respectively. The great reductions of phosphorus and turbidity suggests that biopolymer coagulants could be applied in treatment of agricultural water pollution. The high phosphorus retention in the biodegradable biopolymer sludge suggests that the sludge can be readily used as a phosphorus fertilizer, which would aid the recycling of nutrients.
  • Macura, Biljana; Piniewski, Mikolaj; Ksiezniak, Marta; Osuch, Pawel; Haddaway, Neal R.; Ek, Filippa; Andersson, Karolin; Tattari, Sirkka (Springer Nature, 2019)
    Environmental Evidence 8, 39 (2019)
    Background Agriculture is the main sector responsible for nutrient emissions in the Baltic Sea Region and there is a growing pressure to identify cost-effective solutions towards reducing nitrogen and phosphorus loads originating from farming activities. Recycling resources from agricultural waste is central to the idea of a circular economy, and has the potential to address the most urgent problems related to nutrients use in the food chain, such as depletion of natural phosphorus reserves, water pollution and waste management. This systematic map examined what evidence exists relating to the effectiveness of ecotechnologies in agriculture for the recovery and reuse of carbon and/or nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) in the Baltic Sea region and other comparable boreo-temperate systems. Methods We searched for both academic and grey literature. English language searches were performed in 5 bibliographic databases and search platforms, and Google Scholar. Searches in 36 specialist websites were performed in English, Finnish, Polish and Swedish. The searches were restricted to the period 2013 to 2017. Eligibility screening was conducted at two levels: title and abstract (screened concurrently for efficiency) and full text. Meta-data was extracted from eligible studies including bibliographic details, study location, ecotechnology name and description, type of outcome (i.e. recovered or reused carbon and/or nutrients), type of ecotechnology in terms of recovery source, and type of reuse (in terms of the end-product). Findings are presented here narratively and in a searchable database, and are also visualised in a web-based evidence atlas (an interactive geographical information system). In addition, knowledge gaps and clusters have been identified in the evidence base and described in detail. Results We found 173 articles studying the effectiveness of 177 ecotechnologies. The majority of eligible articles were in English, originated from bibliographic databases and were published in 2016. Most studies with reported locations, and given our boreo-temperate scope, were conducted in Europe and North America. The three most prevalent ecotechnologies in the evidence base (collectively 40.7%) were; soil amendments, anaerobic digestion and (vermi)composting. Manure was the principal waste source used for recovery of nutrients or carbon, making up 55.4% of the all studies in evidence base, followed by a combination of manure and crop residues (22%). There were 51 studies with 14 ecotechnologies that reported on recovery of carbon and nutrients together, predominantly via (vermi)composting and anaerobic digestion. Only 27 studies focused on reuse of recovered nutrients and carbon through soil amendments. Conclusions This systematic map report provides an evidence base that can be useful for researchers and decision-makers in policy and practice working on transformation from linear to circular economy in the agricultural waste sector. Three potential topics for future systematic reviews are: (1) effectiveness of products recovered from different types of agricultural wastes as soil amendments or fertilizers; (2) effectiveness of anaerobic digestion as an ecotechnology used for recovery of nutrients and carbon; (3) effectiveness of composting and/or vermicomposting as ecotechnologies used for recovery of nutrients and carbon.
  • Puupponen, Antti; Lonkila, Annika; Savikurki, Anni; Karttunen, Kaisa; Huttunen, Suvi; Ott, Anna (Elsevier BV, 2022)
    Journal of Rural Studies
    Environmental and political debate concerning the role of agriculture in sustainability has long been on the agenda. However, owing to climate change, an analysis of the transition to a low-carbon society must also be considered from the perspective of justice. Dairy farming, in particular, faces pressure in this context, when contemplating changing consumer behaviors and reduction in the carbon footprint of dairy products. Accordingly, many dairy farmers are struggling with the profitability and high production costs of farming. This study examines the experiences and perceptions of dairy farmers in Finland. The theoretical background is predicated upon the “just transition” literature. Additionally, recent literature regarding farmers' attitudes and agency, related to climate and environmental change, is utilized. A collaborative, empirical study of the Finnish dairy co-op Valio Ltd.‘s carbon-neutral milk chain program was conducted. The authors interviewed 18 dairy farmers and examined their motivations and barriers to carbon-neutral practices. Their experiences and perceptions of justice, in the context of a carbon-neutral milk chain, were studied. This study elucidates how to shift to carbon-neutral agriculture in such a way that dairy farmers perceive this systemic change as justified and acceptable. The results indicate that from the farmers' perspective, three key justice issues need consideration: 1) profitability of farming, 2) blaming of farmers, and 3) use of agricultural peatlands.
  • Mattila, Tuomas J.; Hagelberg, Eija; Söderlund, Sanna; Joona, Juuso (Elsevier, 2022)
    Soil and Tillage Research
    Soil carbon sequestration is a recognized climate mitigation method, but it involves changes in the practices of more than 0.5 billion farms worldwide. Regionally customized carbon-farming programs are one way to tailor soil carbon storage to local conditions. We conducted farmer participatory research on 105 Finnish farms to investigate how farmers approach carbon (C) sequestration. We conducted training for farmers in the basics of carbon-farming and instructed them to make a Carbon Farming Plan for one of their fields. The plans were evaluated by a team of experts and through soil C balance calculations. In addition, potential nutrient limitations and the existing C stock were identified from soil tests. Although the existing C stocks were relatively high, an assessment of the plans indicated high potential for additional C storage (median 320 kg C ha−1year−1). The plans did not show any sensitivity to the existing C stock, with similar C inputs planned for low organic matter (OM) and high OM soils. The farmers either did not know their C stock or were not familiar with the C balance concept. Most soil samples showed considerable nutrient deficiencies (P, S, B and Mn), which can limit C storage. The quality of most plans was adequate for research with minor modifications. The largest C storage potential was estimated for measures with large additions of nutrient-poor amendments or in grazing. Most farmers chose measures with relatively low C storage benefits but high potential benefits for soil structure and productivity (cover crops, nutrient-rich amendments, grassland management). The C gain from some measures (subsoiling, diversity in grasslands) could not be estimated with current methodologies. The magnitude of planned C storage over 5 years on most farms was so small (<0.5% OM), that it is challenging to measure it through soil sampling. This finding supports the earlier conclusions that a combination of modeling and soil sampling is needed to verify the C storage.
  • Lahnamaki-Kivela, Susanna; Kuhmonen, Tuomas (2022)
    Megatrends (urbanization, digitalization, globalization, climate change, etc.) are mainstream developments that affect most economic activities. These megatrends have varying incidences and impacts on individual entrepreneurs and enterprises, also in farming sector. A farmer can either ignore or try to adapt to or benefit from megatrends. This reaction depends on many things: individuals' futures orientation, management practices, business strategy, sunk costs, the life cycle and type of business, for example. The study explores the association between eight common megatrends and business strategies among a sample of Finnish dairy producers. The analysis is based on survey data from the year 2019 (n = 135) collected among a major Finnish dairy industry co-operative's contract producers. The respondents evaluated the expected impact of the megatrends on their own business within the next 10 years with 5-point Likert-type scale (-2 horizontal ellipsis +2). K-means cluster analysis was utilized to uncover a few basic settings in the association between megatrends and farmers behaviours. After trying out several numbers of clusters, a distinctive three cluster solution was found. Additionally, cluster member profiles were framed with farmers' Likert -scale responses. The analysis indicates that dairy farmers differ in their observation of megatrends. The results confirm that some of the farmers more or less ignore the common megatrends, whereas some other farmers adapt to or benefit from the common megatrends. Supporting farmers' futures consciousness will strengthen their capacities of coping in the changing business environment.
  • Menberu, Meseret Walle; Marttila, Hannu; Ronkanen, Anna-Kaisa; Haghighi, Ali Torabi; Kløve, Bjørn (American Geophysical Union, 2021)
    Water Resources Research 57, e2020WR028624
    Undisturbed peatlands are effective carbon sinks and provide a variety of ecosystem services. However, anthropogenic disturbances, especially land drainage, strongly alter peat soil properties and jeopardize the benefits of peatlands. The effects of disturbances should therefore be assessed and predicted. To support accurate modeling, this study determined the physical and hydraulic properties of intact and disturbed peat samples collected from 59 sites (in total 3,073 samples) in Finland and Norway. The bulk density (BD), porosity, and specific yield (Sy) values obtained indicated that the top layer (0–30 cm depth) at agricultural and peat extraction sites was most affected by land use change. The BD in the top layer at agricultural, peat extraction, and forestry sites was 441%, 140%, and 92% higher, respectively, than that of intact peatlands. Porosity decreased with increased BD, but not linearly. Agricultural and peat extraction sites had the lowest saturated hydraulic conductivity, Sy, and porosity, and the highest BD of the land use options studied. The van Genuchten-Mualem (vGM) soil water retention curve (SWRC) and hydraulic conductivity (K) models proved to be applicable for the peat soils tested, providing values of SWRC, K, and vGM-parameters (α and n) for peat layers (top, middle and bottom) under different land uses. A decrease in peat soil water content of ≥10% reduced the unsaturated K values by two orders of magnitude. This unique data set can be used to improve hydrological modeling in peat-dominated catchments and for fuller integration of peat soils into large-scale hydrological models.
  • Rankinen, Katri; Enrique, José; Bernal, Cano; Holmberg, Maria; Vuorio, Kristiina; Granlund, Kirsti (Elsevier, 2019)
    Science of The Total Environment 658 (2019), 1278-1292
    In Finland, a recent ecological classification of surface waters showed that the rivers and coastal waters need attention to improve their ecological state. We combined eco-hydrological and empirical models to study chlorophyll-a concentration as an indicator of eutrophication in a small agricultural river. We used a modified story-and-simulation method to build three storylines for possible changes in future land use due to climate change and political change. The main objective in the first storyline is to stimulate economic activity but also to promote the sustainable and efficient use of resources. The second storyline is based on the high awareness but poor regulation of environmental protection, and the third is to survive as individual countries instead of being part of a unified Europe. We assumed trade of agricultural products to increase to countries outside Europe. We found that chlorophyll-a concentration in the river depended on total phosphorus concentration. In addition, there was a positive synergistic interaction between total phosphorus and water temperature. In future storylines, chlorophyll-a concentration increased due to land use and climate change. Climate change mainly had an indirect influence via increasing nutrient losses from intensified agriculture. We found that well-designed agri-environmental measures had the potential to decrease nutrient loading from fields, as long as the predicted increase in temperature remained under 2 °C. However, we were not able to achieve the nutrient reduction stated in current water protection targets. In addition, the ecological status of the river deteriorated. The influence of temperature on chlorophyll-a growth indicates that novel measures for shading rivers to decrease water temperature may be needed in the future.
  • Andersen, Heidi; Ilmarinen, Pinja; Honkamäki, Jasmin; Tuomisto, E. Leena; Hisinger-Mölkänen, Hanna; Backman, Helena; Lundbäck, Bo; Rönmark, Eva; Lehtimäki, Lauri; Sovijärvi, Anssi; Piirilä, Päivi; Kankaanranta, Hannu (2021)
    Purpose: Asthma is a heterogeneous disease, and factors associated with different asthma phenotypes are poorly understood. Given the higher prevalence of farming exposure and late diagnosis of asthma in more rural Western Finland as compared with the capital of Helsinki, we investigated the relationship between childhood farming environment and age at asthma diagnosis. Methods: A cross-sectional population-based study was carried out with subjects aged 2069 years in Western Finland. The response rate was 52.5%. We included 3864 participants, 416 of whom had physician-diagnosed asthma at a known age and with data on the childhood environment. The main finding was confirmed in a similar sample from Helsinki. Participants were classified as follows with respect to asthma diagnosis: early diagnosis (011 years), intermediate diagnosis (12-39 years), and late diagnosis (40-69 years). Results: The prevalence of asthma was similar both without and with childhood exposure to a farming environment (11.7% vs 11.3%). Allergic rhinitis, family history of asthma, exsmoker, occupational exposure, and BMI >= 30 kg/m(2) were associated with a higher likelihood of asthma. Childhood exposure to a farming environment did not increase the odds of having asthma (aOR, 1.10; 95% CI, 0.87-1.40). It did increase the odds of late diagnosis (aOR, 2.30; 95% CI, 1.12-4.69), but the odds were lower for early (aOR, 0.49; 95% CI, 0.30-0.80) and intermediate diagnosis of asthma (aOR, 0.75; 95% CI, 0.47-1.18). Conclusion: Odds were lower for early diagnosis of asthma and higher for late diagnosis of asthma in a childhood farming environment. This suggests a new hypothesis concerning the etiology of asthma when it is diagnosed late.
  • Lötjönen, Sanna (Helsingfors universitet, 2013)
    The aim of this study was to find out how crop rotations with legumes in comparison to monocultures affect nutrient runoff from cultivation and profitability. We looked at five period monocultures of wheat, barley and oats. In the rotations considered two periods were replaced by red clover-grass or pea-horse bean mixtures. Results from rotations were compared with the ones from monocultures. Rotations were studied in private and social optimum and the case of common agricultural policy. According to the results it is possible to reduce nitrogen runoff with the use of legumes in crop rotations. Reductions were achieved by two means: lower average nitrogen runoff of legumes and residual effect from biologically fixed nitrogen which allows reducing fertilization in the next period. The average reductions in nitrogen runoff were higher in rotations based on pea-horse bean due to its lower optimal fertilization rate compared to red clover-grass. However, average per grain runoff was reduced more with red clover-grass due to its greater residual effect. Average nitrogen runoff was reduced in all cases expect for red clovergrass based rotations in social optimum where the variation in buffer strips made the difference. Private and social profitability were the highest for red clover-grass and adding it to grain monocultures increased both private and social profits. If the demand as fodder was too low cultivation of red clover-grass was unprofitable. Pea-horse bean had the lowest profitability and adding it to grain monocultures reduced profits.
  • de Wit, Heleen A.; Lepistö, Ahti; Marttila, Hannu; Wenng, Hannah; Bechmann, Marianne; Blicher-Mathiesen, Gitte; Eklöf, Karin; Futter, Martyn N.; Kortelainen, Pirkko; Kronvang, Brian; Kyllmar, Katarina; Rakovic, Jelena (Wiley, 2020)
    Hydrological Processes 34, 25 (2020)
    Agricultural, forestry-impacted and natural catchments are all vectors of nutrient loading in the Nordic countries. Here, we present concentrations and fluxes of total nitrogen (totN) and phosphorus (totP) from 69 Nordic headwater catchments (Denmark: 12, Finland:18, Norway:17, Sweden:22) between 2000 and 2018. Catchments span the range of Nordic climatic and environmental conditions and include natural sites and sites impacted by agricultural and forest management. Concentrations and fluxes of totN and totP were highest in agricultural catchments, intermediate in forestry-impacted and lowest in natural catchments, and were positively related %agricultural land cover and summer temperature. Summer temperature may be a proxy for terrestrial productivity, while %agricultural land cover might be a proxy for catchment nutrient inputs. A regional trend analysis showed significant declines in N concentrations and export across agricultural (−15 μg totN L−1 year−1) and natural (−0.4 μg NO3-N L−1 year−1) catchments, but individual sites displayed few long-term trends in concentrations (totN: 22%, totP: 25%) or export (totN: 6%, totP: 9%). Forestry-impacted sites had a significant decline in totP (−0.1 μg P L−1 year−1). A small but significant increase in totP fluxes (+0.4 kg P km−2 year−1) from agricultural catchments was found, and countries showed contrasting patterns. Trends in annual concentrations and fluxes of totP and totN could not be explained in a straightforward way by changes in runoff or climate. Explanations for the totN decline include national mitigation measures in agriculture international policy to reduced air pollution and, possibly, large-scale increases in forest growth. Mitigation to reduce phosphorus appears to be more challenging than for nitrogen. If the green shift entails intensification of agricultural and forest production, new challenges for protection of water quality will emerge possible exacerbated by climate change. Further analysis of headwater totN and totP export should include seasonal trends, aquatic nutrient species and a focus on catchment nutrient inputs.